Should you have a breast screen?
A woman's risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. Over 75% of breast cancers fall into the 50 to 74 years age group. Regular breast screens (mammograms) are the best way to find cancer early.
Your state-based service will send you a letter to invite you for a free mammogram every 2 years if you:
- are a woman
- are aged between 50 and 74 years of age.
Read BreastScreen and you for more information on breast screening.
Talk to your doctor if you have:
- a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer
- had breast cancer in the past 5 years
- any breast cancer symptoms.
They can help you decide on the most appropriate care.
Breast cancer is both rarer and more difficult to detect in men of any age, so the harms of screening mammograms are currently assessed as outweighing the benefits. Men of all ages are instead encouraged to report any changes or concerns they have about their breasts to their doctor. Find out more about breast cancer in men.
If you're outside the target age range
If you’re between 40 and 49 years, or 75 years and older, you can book a free screening mammogram, but you need to have no breast cancer symptoms.
Talk to your doctor and read BreastScreen and you for more information about whether breast screening is right for you.
Why we don’t invite you to screen in your 40s
Research and evidence shows that most women aged 40 to 49 won’t benefit from regular mammograms. You can speak to your doctor about whether breast screening is right for you.
If you’ve had breast cancer
If you have had breast cancer in the past and are currently under the care of a specialist, they will arrange any imaging services you need, including surveillance mammograms. It is best to attend the mammogram that your specialist arranges for you.
In some states and territories, women who have completed breast cancer treatment and follow-up surveillance are able to return to the BreastScreen program with the approval of their treating doctor.
If you have breast implants
If you have implants, it’s generally safe to have a screening mammogram. Chat to your doctor about whether breast screening is suitable for you.
If you decide to have a breast screen, please tell the BreastScreen staff about your implants when you make your appointment.
If you are trans or gender diverse
If you are trans or gender diverse, breast screening may be of benefit for you – or it may not be, depending on individual circumstances.
Please talk with your doctor about your individual screening needs to make sure that optimum care is provided. Your local BreastScreen Australia service may also have advice on whether a screening mammogram is suited to your particular circumstances.
If you have a disability
If you have a disability, you have the same risk of breast cancer as other women.
When you are making your booking, please tell BreastScreen Australia staff about any particular requirements you may have.
BreastScreen Australia services try to meet the needs of women with disabilities by ensuring:
- appropriate information and support is available if you have an intellectual disability, a low level of literacy, or have a sight or hearing disability
- physical access is provided if you are in a wheelchair, or have a physical disability that limits your mobility
- longer appointment times are made available if necessary
- appropriate consent is obtained
- all staff of the service are adequately trained and equipped to provide care for women with a disability
- with your (or your carer’s) consent, your nominated doctor is informed if breast screening cannot be provided as a result of your disability.